Philippines, Sports, television

It’s College Hoops Season Again

The countdown to the much-anticipated college basketball season in the Philippines begins. Twelve days from now the NCAA’s 89th season gets underway, while the UAAP‘s 76th season starts the week after. The college basketball season begins earlier than usual because of the country’s hosting of the 2013 FIBA Asia Tournament, which commences in the first week of August.

The NCAA will have a new broadcast partner for Season 89. AksyonTV takes over as the main coveror of the league’s games after the AKTV on IBC block expired last May.  The change of network will not affect the league’s recent approach of scheduling games in the late afternoon/early evening slots. However the game days have yet to be determined. As with the previous year, at least two game dates will be played outside Metro Manila.

ABS-CBN Sports, through VHF channel Studio 23, will broadcast the UAAP games for the 14th consecutive season. Unlike in previous years, the weekday games for men’s basketball will now be held on Wednesdays, as opposed to Thursdays. The Wednesday-Saturday-Sunday game schedule has been used in the network’s coverage of women’s volleyball, and was used experimentally in men’s basketball last season. However this will be the first time that the league will employ a Wednesday-Saturday-Sunday schedule full-time in men’s basketball. For the fifth straight season, at least one men’s basketball championship game will be aired on ABS-CBN on a weekend.

De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde will host the NCAA’s 89th season, while Adamson University will host UAAP’s 76th season.

Sports, television, United States

The Spurs Are No Blockbuster

Spurs logo 2002–present

Ratings for the NBA Finals have been no cakewalk, especially when the San Antonio Spurs are involved. (Logo courtesy of NBA Properties)

The San Antonio Spurs under Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich pride themselves in depth, teamwork and execution, qualities that resulted in four NBA championships. And those same qualities are also the reason why they are competing for a fifth championship at this time of the year.

However, despite their success, they are not a ratings hit. Two of the four NBA Finals involving the Spurs registered the lowest average ratings in Finals history. The 2003 Finals against the New Jersey Nets had a 6.5 rating, while the 2007 Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers had a 6.2 rating. This year’s series against the Miami Heat, like the Spurs’ prior appearances, is expected to rate just as low, despite the presence of LeBron James in the series.

There are two reasons why the Spurs have some of the NBA’s lowest-rated games or series. They are a small-market club, meaning that they play in a city with fewer average television sets than in cities such as Los Angeles, Boston, New York or Chicago. In addition, many criticize the Spurs’ ‘boring’ style, which emphasizes on Duncan running half-court sets each and every time. Such a slow pace would have adverse effects on the viewer’s interest.

While the Spurs lack a decent amount of viewership in the United States, globally this was not the case. The Spurs boast a good cast of foreign players to complement the team, thus viewers in France (Tony Parker), Argentina (Manu Ginobili), Brazil (Tiago Splitter), and Australia (Patty Mills) would tune in to see their popular countrymen play. Such diversity in flag and country should never be taken for granted, considering how the NBA’s global popularity has grown.

As the NBA Finals go on, it will be interesting to see how the Spurs would fare once more ratings-wise. If this were to be a short series, the ratings will be much lower; if long, it will either be even or high. Regardless, ratings for the NBA Finals will depend on how this series is played out, in terms of entertainment factor, drama, closeness of the matchups and series characters.